CAPSULE REPORT: America has jumped on the functional food bandwagon—foods and beverages enhanced with supplements that serve a helpful effect on the body beyond normal nutrition. These all natural, organic and fair trade coffees are infused with herbal enhancers such as gingko biloba and echinacea that target specific wellness goals: immunity, joint health, memory, metabolism and stress relief.
It’s no news to most of us that coffee—that growth-stunting, tooth-staining, for-grown-ups-only beverage—has undergone a substantial image makeover of late. In recent years, studies have begun to emerge indicating a positive correlation between coffee consumption and good health; some studies show that coffee is, on the whole, far more salutary than it is harmful. One even shows that it has beneficial antioxidants. All of this comes as quite a relief to those of us who consume it by the gallon each day!
Since 2006 Spava Coffee has been allowing guzzlers (yes, that’s the word we’d use—we’ll explain in a minute) to increase multi-fold the health and wellness benefits of their daily dose of Joe. Beyond being Certified Organic and Fair Trade (read: good for the buyers, the producers and the planet), the line is nutrient-fortified. Using a patent-pending technology, Spava infuses Fair Trade, 100% Arabica coffee beans with vitamins and herbal nutraceuticals that target specific health concerns. These enhancers are completely flavorless, allowing the drinker to enjoy the coffee's nutty, woody aroma and characteristic bitterness* without interference.
The question is: How much coffee do you have to drink to get the benefits? The answer: a lot. That’s why we said it’s “good for guzzlers.” Here are some examples:
A cup of Clarity provides 20mg of ginkgo biloba and 25mg of white tea extract. One of the country’s most prominent neurologists, who specializes in memory, prescribes 120 mg of ginkgo twice a day for normal maintenance of clarity.
Flexibility contains 30mg of chondroitin sulfate, and 20mg of MSM. Anyone who is concerned with prophylaxis—much less healing and pain—is taking a minimum of 500mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, and similar amounts of glucosamine sulfate. So, this is a drop in the bucket.
Immunity has 25mg of rosehips per cup, which contain vitamin C, plus 35mg of echinacea; but anyone who takes vitamin C pills for immunity takes aims for 500mg a day.
Flexibility provides a bit of a chondroitin boost. Product photography by Dhanraj Emanuel.
However, little bits can add up, and for people who don’t like to swallow pills, 20mg or 30mg is better than nothing at all. And while the coffee won’t pass muster with the coffee connoisseur klatsch, it tastes as good as what most people enjoy. And the attractive package is a nice idea.
So, if all this makes it worth it to you to pay double the amount for a bag...tear one open and start brewing!
Varieties Of Spava Fortified Coffee
All of Spava’s coffees have the same flavor and aroma profiles—bold, dark-roasted goodness—so you can always enjoy the same great taste, no matter which herbal infusion you fancy. Spava is available in five different varieties, each catering to individual issues most people grapple with at one time or another:
Calm is Spava’s decaffeinated option, enhanced with 150mcg of vitamin B6 to protect against anxiety and depression, and 15mg of passion flower, which contains a flavonoid called chyrysin that purportedly quiets the central nervous system and lowers blood pressure. There’s also 10mg of inositol (vitamin Bh), which, among other things, helps brain function.
Clarity contains 20mg* of gingko biloba and 25mg of White Tea extract, both of which are alleged to have numerous health benefits. Gingko biloba improves short term memory and mental clarity by increasing blood circulation to the brain; white tea extract contains a high concentration of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that fight and kill cancer-causing cells.
*All nutrition data provided is per 6 oz. serving, the size of an average coffee cup (not a mug).
Flexibility contains 30mg of chondroitin sulfate, as well as 20mg of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). These two nutrients are often part of healing and pain management programs for people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
Immunity provides a little boost of echinacea, vitamin C and other enhancers.
If coffee doesn’t give you enough energy as it is, here’s energy-enhanced coffee.
Immunity is fortified with 35mg echinacea, 25mg of rosehips, both of which hare thought to increase immune function. The former increases the production and activity of white blood cells, while the latter contains vitamin C, as well as vitamins A, D and E and flavonoids.
Metabolism offers an added herbal energy boost to the coffee’s caffeine pick-me-up: 20mg of green tea extract, a known appetite suppressant, and 15mg of guarana, which increases stamina and physical endurance, and also helps to diminish appetite. While not exactly an excuse to have cake with your coffee, this should appeal to those who also buy energy water.
A perfect product for the health-conscious coffee addict, Spava coffees offer all the benefits of your average cup o’ Joe, plus a little something extra to address specific concerns and enhance overall wellness.
Spava Coffee is also available at selected HEB, Kings Market, Kroger Publix, Whole Foods Markets and and local natural food markets. Check the website store locator.
If regular decaf coffee doesn’t leave you calm enough, Spava’s Calm adds vitamin B6, passion flower and inositol to do the trick.
Great Books About Coffee
The World Encyclopedia of Coffee, by Mary Banks. This book is a fabulous resource, and belongs on the shelf of any self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. Click here for more information.
Coffee Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide, by Kevin Knox and Julie Sheldon Huffaker. Demysti-fy the jargon; learn the funda-mentals of coffee buying, brew-ing, and tasting. Click here for more information.
Javatrekker: Dispatches From the World of Fair Trade Coffee, by Dean Cycon. A must-read for all coffee lovers, about how the beans get from the third world to our table. Click here for more information.
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